For many, the Indiana University Cinema has become an integral part of cultural and intellectual life in Bloomington. Over the past five years, the cinema staff has screened hundreds of movies, and quickly gained national recognition.
Indiana University Cinema Director Jon Vickers had big plans from the very beginning. He and his staff knew they wanted to build a cinema with a national reputation while still serving as Bloomington’s art cinema.
Vickers says, “It wasn’t a mandate, but there was definitely an idea that we could develop into something that might be considered one of the best in the country. We were given this great venue that was not only beautifully built, but also equipped maybe better that 99.9% of the cinemas in the country.”
Over the past five years, the cinema staff has screened hundreds of movies, and quickly gained national recognition. They have also attracted dozens of filmmakers, scholars, actors and actresses, including Werner Herzog, Kevin Kline, and Meryl Streep.
The cinema is open 6 or 7 nights a week during the academic year and screens around 350 films each year.
This year, Vickers will be taking a sabbatical. He is using the time to focus on aspects of the IU Cinema that he doesn’t usually have a chance to examine.
In the interim, current Associate Director Brittany Friesner will be taking over his role. Brittany is an IU alum with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in arts administration. She’s worked for the IU Cinema since fall of 2013, but she was involved from the beginning.
Friesner had an interest in film but says, “It was the sort of thing I thought I would have to leave Bloomington to pursue… Once I heard of the concept of the IU Cinema, I was always on top of all the information, and I actually wrote the profile piece in the Alumni magazine on the Cinema and Jon when the ground breaking plans had been introduced.”
Friesner has taken on many roles at the Cinema since that time. She took over the guest services management, but also programing the cinema’s academic partnerships. Friesner now programs the films for about half of the cinema’s schedule.
After two years as Associate Director, Friesner feels confident in her new role and has big plans for the next year. Over the next year Friesner hopes to focus on doing more outreach and bringing in new patrons.
Vickers says, “The cinema is in great hands with our team and with Brittany in the lead. I think it’s going to be a stellar year, and then I’m going to come back, and we’re going to have more stellar years.”
The IU Cinema will take a break during the month of July, but will return in August for a new semester of programing.